Worcester Telegram & Gazette Disappointed by Mass. Gov. Patrick's announcement

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran an insightful editorial lamenting Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision to extend the moratorium on new waste-to-energy capacity in Massachusetts.  The T&G editorial board found the Governor's decision to be "a disappointing reflection of either/or thinking that will leave Massachusetts with fewer options than it should have in its battle to reduce, recycle and reuse."  The editorial noted that "since 1990, WTE facilities have cut 90 percent or more of the major pollutants they emit [and] placing a ton of solid waste in a landfill means emitting about 33 percent more greenhouse gases than are emitted by incinerating that same ton of waste — and without producing any electricity. "

It's not waste; it's energy

Former Massachusetts environmental secretary and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 Administrator John P. DeVillars wrote an op-ed published in the Boston Globe today that discussed the importance of removing the Massachusetts DEP's moratorium on new waste-to-energy capacity.  DeVillars recognizes that waste-to-energy facilities "add in-state capacity so that we can end the practice of burying our waste in someone else’s backyard [and] advance recycling by diverting recyclable wastes from their facilities to recycling centers. And because every ton of trash that we turn into energy is the equivalent of using one less barrel of oil or one-quarter ton less coal, generating energy from waste can contribute to addressing the global challenge of climate change."

ERC Highlights Worker Health & Safety

The Energy Recovery Council has published a new Fact Sheet on Electrical Safety and Injuries.  This fact sheet was developed under the auspices of the the Alliance Agreement between the Energy Recovery Council and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Fact Sheet will raise awareness of the risks of high voltage electrical shock, review how workers can protect themselves during high voltage electrical work, and summarize how proper medical treatment can be provided in an expedient and effective way for any worker injured by this type of hazard. While this Fact Sheet has been provided for members of the Energy Recovery Council (ERC), all industries and personnel who might encounter the effects of a high voltage electrical shock can benefit from the details of this Fact Sheet.

Columbia University Professor: "Don't Trash Waste-to-Energy"

Columbia University Professor Nickolas Themelis wrote an excellent op-ed entitled “Don’t Trash Waste-to-Energy” which was published in the Cape Cod Times.  His piece highlights the irrational attitude of some environmentalists who say if you ban landfills and incinerators, people will reduce, recycle and compost their way to zero waste.  Themelis argues that Massachusetts must lift its moratorium on new waste-to-energy capacity rather than succumbing to the "misguided opposition...of "environmental" groups."

Westchester Celebrates 25 years of Waste-to-Energy

The Westchester waste-to-energy facility in Peekskill, NY marked its 25th anniversary in operation this week. The Journal News asserts that there is nothing glamorous about the trash-to-energy plant, but its construction did solve one of the most monumental problems in county history - how to dispose of hundreds of thousands of tons of household and commercial garbage in a safe, environmental way. The facility was opened on Oct. 21, 1984, at Charles Point in Peekskill under a contract by Wheelabrator. The steam produced in the burning process generates enough electricity daily to cover the needs of some 40,000 residents served by Con Edison.  This article provides an excellent case study on how a community decided that waste-to-energy was the best way to manage their trash.